Ah, Ha, Ha, Ha, Stayin’ Alive
I didn’t expect much out of my 18th birthday this past weekend. A simple stroll through South Padre Island and a day of relaxation was the plan; perhaps I should have thought differently when my father told me to wear a regular t-shirt and some denim shorts.
After more than an hours drive, we made it to the beach and hit Mcdonalds for some breakfast. I was in the middle of eating my second bacon, egg, and cheese Mcgriddle when I got the news that I, Briana Martinez, on September 10th (my birthday) was going to jump from 11,500 ft off a moving airplane along with my brother Travis.
I was in shock. Yes, this was a dream of mine, but I wish they told me sooner before I ate so much.
Once everybody finished eating, we went to the S.P.I Skydiving business where I signed my very first contract that stated my acknowledgment of any risks, release of liabilities, and any claims made against them. They said to come back in an hour because the professionals who were going to be strapped on us were coming back from jumping with another set of adrenaline junkies.
My family and I did what I thought we were going to do and strolled through little shops and such to pass the time. My parents kept trying to get under my skin and thought it would be funny to tell me that this would be the last time they would ever see there own daughter. Thanks guys.
We get back to the business and my brother and I take a seat in the lounge to wait for own deaths. Two men walk out of the back room and the laid-back cashier says that these will be the guys we are to jump with. Holy crap. One is Russian with a thick accent and is quite friendly and the other whom they refer to as “Sparky” seems to be in his late 40’s and has that cool dad vibe to him.
They lead us to there company van and we were well on our way. Travis and I were heading to the Brownsville airport accompanied by the tall Russian man, Sparky, and a very short older man who was going to be our pilot.
The Brownsville Airport was rather small. The airplane we were going to ride in was extremely small. Both jumpers speedily equipped us with gear and harnesses. My brother looked to be excited but I was getting second thoughts. What was I getting myself into?
The pilot hopped on the plane into the pilots seat and buckled himself in, then the tall Russian man followed. He sat with his legs open toward the back of the plane and motioned my brother to do the same with his back to him. Sparky jumped in and turned his back to Travis and told me just to sit learning style facing all of them. We were a pack of canned sardines in there.
The plane started up and headed for the speedway. I had been on a plethora of planes in my lifetime but this was different. I felt every motion, every bump, and felt every shake. The plane was soon in the air and not only was I not yet attached to Sparky but there were no buckles or safety straps on the plane. I was face pressed against the window looking down at where I was standing just 2 minutes ago. Sparky began recording Travis and I. I tried to keep my cool for the camera. He thought it would be fun to open the side hatch and I began to slowly lose it; any bump of the sort could resort to me falling off the plane without a parachute. I’m hyperventilating here.
This was it. South Padre Island was fast approaching and I came to the realization that in a matter of minutes I would be plummeting to Earth with a man named Sparky. Sparky told me to face the back and told me to get close to him, where he finally connected our harnesses and clipped us together. He yelled over the loud noise of wind colliding with a tiny airplane that once we jumped it was very important to keep my head tucked into him and to hold on to my harness until he said otherwise.
The pilot gave us the go-ahead. We scooted our bodies closer to the edge and I got the chance to look down. We were above the clouds and had to land on a strip that looked no bigger than a bread stick (S.P.I). Without warning he threw himself off the plane and we tossed and tumbled down; the plane got smaller and smaller from my view. Goodbye Travis.
He tapped my shoulders and said to let go of my harness and I threw my hands out. What a sight. The force of air resistance made it hard to move even the slightest but I felt like I was flying. Sparky had quite the job.
He without warning, blasted the parachute out and I felt my body being pulled intensely. My shoulders and thighs felt the rope-like harnesses sweep across my skin which sent me in a surge of pain. Ouch. Despite the immense pain I tried to enjoy everything, I examined the beautiful serene scene. Earth looked so much better from above. Everything was calm and peaceful.
The ground was soon approaching and my time in the sky was soon fading away. He told me to stay standing up as the sand was just inches away and finally I was on land. I was quickly greeted by the camera man/owner of the business and my family whom cheered on my arrival. “That was so cool!,” I exclaimed. My brother soon followed and landed with the young Russian broad.
We now we can both say we jumped out of a moving airplane.